Al Zarooni Used Steroid Regimen in Dubai

Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford says Sheikh Mohammed was unaware of practice.

Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said the steroid injections given to 15 Godolphin horses were part of a regimen that now-sullied trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni followed while he was in Dubai.

On April 25 the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) banned Al Zarooni from training in Great Britain for eight years following positive test results for anabolic steroids ethylestranol and stanozolol in the Godolphin horses stabled in Newmarket. The 15 horses that tested positive also have been banned from racing for six months effective as of April 9 and ending Oct. 8.

During the BHA press conference at which Al Zarooni's suspension was announced, Crisford was asked if the trainer had given steroids to horses stabled in Dubai.

"It is legal in Dubai, provided they don't race on the substance; the same as other countries in the world," Crisford said. He added that the 10 horses in "pre training" that Al Zarooni had been treating with steroids since last autumn were not among any of the horses in Great Britain and that the treated horses were still in Dubai.

When asked whether Sheikh Mohammed knew the horses in Dubai were being treated with steroids, Crisford said no.

"Completely unaware," Crisford said.

Crisford was then asked if he was concerned that it now appeared Godolphin has had an unfair advantage in Great Britain because it was able to ship in horses from other parts of the world where medication rules were more tolerant. Anabolic steroids under the British Rules of Racing are prohibited at any time, in racing or training.

"I think that is a fair point and people will come to that kind of conclusion, though there are no facts to back that statement up," Crisford answered.

In an interview April 26 with Channel 4 Racing, Crisford was asked about his role in the management of the stable.

"I think we have to be very clear about this situation," Crisford told Channel 4 Racing. "A trainer is a licensed individual and it is his duty to take professional care of the horses in his stable. He runs the day-to-day management; my job is to look after the best interests of the owner. I simply cannot be aware of every single bit of medication that every horse in Godolphin is getting.

"I've been told to clear the mess up, and that's what I'm going to do," Crisford added later in the TV interview. "And if when the mess is cleared up, if Sheikh Mohammed is dissatisfied with anything that I've done, then he'll make that known pretty quickly."

Crisford expressed deep regrets at having recommended Al Zarooni for a position with Godolphin.

"(It) shows a remarkable lack of judgment on my part to recommend him to Sheikh Mohammed, which I did do," Crisford told Channel 4 Racing. "When (Al Zarooni's) horses failed the tests for painkillers last year, we sat down with him and told him he had to keep his records maintained in a much more efficient manner.

"I had lengthy conversations with him about that but I'm afraid he's betrayed the trust we put in him and he's let everybody down, not only Godolphin but the British public, too," Crisford said.

Crisford said Godolphin will have nothing more to do with Al Zarooni and has no sympathy for his plight.

"It'll take a long time," Crisford said about Godolphin's recovery from the scandal. "I think that we will get there. Obviously Sheikh Mohammed passionately loves horses and horse racing. He's going to make sure that everything will be done to make sure that the stable is absolutely 100% clean before any horses get transferred to any other trainers."

At least three other people within the Godolphin organization also may face sanctions. Crisford said two foremen and a vet assistant have been identified as being involved.